Why Are There Pagans on Our Playlist?

We believe there is freedom and opportunity for us to listen to these voices and allow their creativity to stir our affections for the Creator.

Topic : Entertainment

In the next few weeks, we will begin a new sermon series titled Recovering Redemption. The hope of this series is simple: We want people to consider anew the light of the gospel against the dark backdrop of the frail and fallen human heart. After all, one of the themes we’ll continually touch on is that the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. Throughout this season, we want to see a greater awakening and awareness to the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done as we realize that we cannot save ourselves, but He can.

As a part of this series, we have created a digital guide that will serve as the hub for all things Recovering Redemption—videos, resources, stories, etc. This resource can be found at thevillagechurch.net/recoveringredemption.

Within this digital guide, we included a playlist of songs that will hopefully prepare us corporately and individually to sing, study, and pray as an overflow of hearts rescued and redeemed by our King.

The particular songs we have included were chosen because they in some way inspired our pastors and ministers as they prepared for the series or simply because they match the tone and themes we hope to communicate. In light of this connection, you will hear some of these songs before and after weekend services.

The playlist may raise some questions for you. In particular, you might notice that many of the artists are not believers and may not live a lifestyle we condone. Our choice to include one or two songs from these artists does not imply endorsement of their other songs or albums or their lifestyle choices.

Why, then, would we include such songs if we don’t necessarily agree with the entire catalogs or lifestyles of the artists?

Simply put, you do not have to be a Christian to communicate beauty and truth. As bearers of the image of God, humanity is hardwired with a capacity to cultivate and create order and beauty. Though our creation is often tainted because our hearts are tainted, we creatures yet retain the ability to create art—in this case, music—that embodies shadows and whispers of truth.

Imagine if Christians discarded the portrait of a glorious landscape solely because it was painted by a pagan or ignored the grandeur of a skyline because many of the architects were not believers. To the same extent, why would we not appreciate the harmony of melodies and chords solely on the basis of the artist’s profession?

Though not prominent in the Bible, this principle of finding the contours of truth in the surrounding culture is explicitly biblical. Paul quotes approvingly from an Athenian poet (Acts 17:28) and a Cretan prophet (Titus 1:12) to highlight the fact that all truth and beauty is from the Lord and should ultimately orient us to Him. No doubt the apostle would have disagreed with much, if not most, of the messages of this prophet and poet, but he found at least one point of connection in each and leveraged that for the faith of the flock. He heard the echoes of the gospel even in the pagan literature of his day. As he would write elsewhere, any hint of truth, beauty, wisdom and glory is ours because it belongs to Christ and we belong to Him (1 Cor. 3:21-23).

We believe there is freedom and opportunity for us to listen to these voices and allow their creativity to stir our affections for the Creator. At the same time, we recognize that there are limits to what could appropriately be called “art,” and that we must each be subject to our own consciences (Rom. 14). If any songs on our playlist inhibit worship in your heart, we encourage you to set them aside and find something else which leads you to respond to the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ.

Our hope is for this playlist (and the entire digital guide) to lead you into a greater experience of the redemption offered in the person and work of Christ and to help orient you to the gospel, enabling you to glory in the goodness of our King who meets you where you are. To that end we have provided it and to that end we will pray.